The Great Los Angeles Air Raid of 1942 sets the stage for SCLA’s Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night - SCLA

Fred Sanders (Feste), Stephen Caffrey (Sir Toby Belch), and Chris Rivera (Sir Andrew Aguecheek). Photo credit: Michael Lamont

For the last 30 years The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles has been captivating audiences with its award-winning performances. Now, SCLA’s professional company returns with a new production of Twelfth Night, beginning July 29, hosted at Santa Monica College.

Twelfth Night is directed by former Royal Shakespeare Company member, Kenn Sabberton, and takes its inspiration from the real life events of the “Great Los Angeles Air Raid of 1942” and alien-invasion hysteria. It also features original music by composer and cast member Fred Sanders who plays Feste.

In 1942, bright lights in the skies of L.A. could only mean one of two things: a Pearl Harbor-style attack by Japan or an alien invasion. The Great Los Angeles Air Raid, as it has become known, provides the perfect SoCal backdrop for this gender-bending comedy, which tracks the misadventures of shipwrecked twins Viola and Sebastian. A delightful play full of unrequited love, mistaken identity, love triangles, and lies, it contains some of Shakespeare’s wittiest wordplay.

The cast stars Therese Barbato (Viola), Chris Butler (Orsino), Tracey A. Leigh (Olivia), Kimberly Scott (Maria), Stephen Caffrey (Sir Toby Belch), Time Winters (Malvolio), Connor Kelly-Eiding (Sebastian), Fred Sanders (Feste), Christopher Rivera (Sir Andrew Aguecheek), Sheldon Donenberg (Antionio), and Dustin Staff (Valentine).

Production team also includes Ben Donenberg (SCLA Artistic Director), and SMC designers Lacey Anzelc (scenic design), Leigh Allen (lighting design), Kristie Mattsson (costume design), and Kirk Graves (prop master).

Director Kenn Sabberton has been an actor, director and teacher for over thirty years. Prior to training he was the youngest ever Artistic Director of the Enfield Youth Theatre and was invited to work with the renowned National Youth Theatre. He trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and received a B.A. in Theatre Studies. After many years working in London, Kenn was invited to join the Royal Shakespeare Company. He later worked with London’s Royal National Theatre, the Aquila Theatre Company, and as an associate artist teacher with NYU Center for Ancient Studies, studying, lecturing and researching Shakespeare. Twelfth Night is Kenn’s fourth production with SCLA. Previous shows include As You Like It, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Romeo and Juliet).

July 29 – August 21, 2016
The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles and Santa Monica College
Santa Monica College Main Stage on the Quad
1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405
Wed – Sat at 8pm, Sun at 2pm
Tickets: 213-481-2273 or
$40 for General Admission, $70 for VIP Seats plus a box, picnic meal provided by Thyme Cafe. Student tickets are $20 and FREE for Veterans.


The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles Hosts Declaration of Doubt Event

Declaration of DoubtHaven’t had enough of the authorship debate yet?

Here’s a free event from the good folks at The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles to get you going again.

From the email: “Actor-Author Michael York, introducing the authorship documentary Last Will & Testament, produced by Roland Emmerich, plus Beyond Reasonable Doubt: Shakespeare was not Shakespeare! This is one of several same-day international events timed to coincide with celebrations of William Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of the death of William of Stratford.”

Sunday, April 24, 2016
2:00 – 5:00 pm
The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles
1238 W. First Street (& Bixel St.)
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Admission is free and you can make a reservation HERE.

Simply Shakespeare, Saveth the Date!

Simply Shakespeare Dec 2015


Hamlet is Going to the Clowns – Four Clowns, that is

Four Clowns presents Hamlet
Four Clowns teams up with the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles for an all new take on one of Shakespeare’s most popular works – Hamlet. Four Clowns presents Hamlet will run for eight performances only, Fridays and Saturdays Sept 18 – Oct 10, all shows at 8pm.

Join the award-winning company as they go on a raucous journey to explore the depths of madness. With Hamlet at the helm – the biggest joker of all time – this highly physical production slips and slides through the pages of Shakespeare, as the clowns hash out the meaning of rosemary and rue. But at the end of the day even clowns can’t take the sting out of mass murder. This is Shakespeare as you’ve never seen before. Alas Poor, Yorick. You thought you knew him well.

Previously Four Clowns has presented two other unique interpretations of Shakespeare classics: an award-winning version of Romeo & Juliet in 2011, and in partnership with CSULB, a devised version of Ubu Roi called Ubu The Sh*t, a French play based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

For the tale of Hamlet, a cast of nine – including several new members of the company – is directed by long-time company member and director Turner Munch. Munch says, “This is not a bunch of clowns trying to ‘perform’ the play of Hamlet. Our clowns assume these roles and are making these choices.”

The show stars Drew Eiden as Hamlet, with Tyler Bremer (Guildenstern), Charlotte Chanler (Gertrude), Joe DeSoto (Laertes/Ghost) , Scotty Farris (Polonius), Elizabeth Godley (Ophelia), Dave Honigman (Rosencrantz), Corey Johnson (Claudius), and Connor Kelly-Eiding (Horatio).

The creative team includes Matthew MacCready (technical director), McLeod Benson (lighting designer), Alexandra Giron (set & props designer), Elena Flores (costume, hair, & make-up designer), Matt Franta (fight choreographer), Julianna Stephanie Ojeda (production manager), Zach Steel (graphic designer), Ashley Jo Navarro (stage manager), Jeremy Aluma (artistic director/producer) and producers David Anthony Anis and Sara Waugh.

Sept 18 – Oct 10, 2015
Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles
1238 West 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Tickets: (562) 508-1788 or
Show runs under 90 minutes with no intermission.

SCLA’s Veterans in Art and Will Power to Youth present Henry IV, Part One

SCLA Henry IV Pt 1For those of you who have asked if The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles is producing a play this summer, their festival partner, the West LA VA, has refocused its funds to serve one of their worthiest missions – ending veteran homelessness – so there won’t be a production in the Japanese Garden this year. SCLA will announce a new partnership this winter that continues their work between veterans, youth, and the community.

What are they currently working on? You can see for yourself August 13 – 15 when Veterans in Art and Will Power to Youth present Henry IV, Part One at SCLA’s downtown studio. Tickets are pay-what-you-can and reservations are recommended by calling (213) 481-2273 x15 or emailing

What decisions do you have to make as you grow up? What code of honor guides your way? Los Angeles teens and military vets have been asking these questions of Shakespeare’s play and each other. Performed by students, informed by veterans. For the benefit of all.

Thursday, August 13, 10:00 am
Friday, August 14, 7:30 pm
Saturday, August 15, 7:30 pm
The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles
1238 W. First Street, Los Angeles CA 90026

More Shakespeare at the Huntington Fun

Bard Meets Beatles

On Friday, April 17, join The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles and SCLA’s Will Power to Schools program for a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, presented by students from East LA Performing Arts Magnet High School. It’s the Bard Meets the Beatles in this magical journey through one hard day’s night staged on Mr. Huntington’s beautiful back porch. There will be a reception at 5:00 pm and the performance begins at 5:30 pm. The Huntington Gardens, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108. [Reservations currently at capacity]

Then on Saturday, April 18, it’s Shakespeare Day at the Huntington. Stop by the SCLA booth between 11:00 am – 3:00 pm and create something unique with Shakespeare’s words. Feeling sweet? Devise a compliment to stir your true love’s heart. Feeling salty? Create an insult to give your next incident of road rage a theatrical flair.

Gardens 1

Also from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, Independent Shakespeare Co. will be performing scenes from some of Shakespeare’s best-loved plays in locations throughout the grounds. The family-friendly day includes interactive workshops and craft activities (like the one described above) for exploring Shakespeare and his world. Cost: Free with admission to The Huntington. For more information call (626) 405-2100 or go to

Huntington 2014

8 x 10: A Free Evening of Short Plays at Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles

ICS logoInner City Shakespeare Ensemble will present a free evening of short works at Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles on Nov. 14 & 15. The five-year-old not-for-profit ensemble partners veteran theatre professionals with young artists of all ethnicities, usually to perform Shakespeare, however this event will feature new works. This evening of plays is produced by Paul Heller. ISCE’s artistic director is Melanie Andrews. Among the plays are:

Romeo and Juliet- Sped Up!
Written by Hannah Thomas. Directed by Emma Yang. Based on Shakespeare’s tragedy, this version in Modern English transpires in a compact eight minutes. Featuring Izabella Paz, Owen Yang, Thomas Carlton, Jazmin Pollinger, Paul Heller, Juvanie Hildreth, Erin McLaughlin, Stephanie Huerta, and David Mosseri.

The Far Away Daughter of Athens
Written by August Schulenberg. Directed by Thomas Carlton. This is a conversation between two of Shakespeare’s Athenian characters, Egeus and Demetrius, who have been captured by the Amazons and taken as prisoners during the Athenian War. Alone on stage, they reminisce about who they miss back home. For Egeus, it is his daughter, Hermia. Demetrius is interrupted too soon by a harsh sound, but as A Midsummer Night’s Dream would have it, we understand a little more why Egeus would have Demetrius marry his daughter when they’re back home in Athens. Featuring Thomas Carlton and Milton Lazaro.  More

Review: SCLA’s Jazz Age Romeo and Juliet is an Electric Affair

SCLA - Romeo and Juliet

Jack Mikesell and Christina Elmore. Photos by Michael Lamont

“Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents’ strife.”

It is a chilling conclusion when Kimberly Scott repeats the text of the prologue again at the end of Romeo and Juliet while standing over the dead bodies of the lovers. You can hear the bitter warning in her voice as she slowly looks from one end of the stage to the other at two fathers who have paid the price of their feud in blood. As her weighty words hang in the air, the lights dim, and Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles’s magnificent production slowly fades to black.

Director Ken Sabberton creates a stream of moments that resonate like this one in his sleek interpretation of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy that transports the Capulets and Montagues to the Roaring Twenties when two Los Angeles newspaper rivals (Harry Chandler and William Randolph Hearst) fought for control of the city.


Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles Announces Cast of ROMEO AND JULIET

SCLA - Romeo and Juliet 2010

SCLA’s Romeo and Juliet 2010. Photo credit: Michael Lamont

Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles will return to the Japanese Garden at the Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare Campus for the third year in a row, with a Los Angeles-centric production of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, directed by Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal National Theatre alum Kenn Sabberton. The production runs July 8 – 26 (press opening July 13).

Artistic director Ben Donenberg says, “This July, we light up the Japanese Garden with a new production of Romeo and Juliet that draws its inspiration from 1920’s Los Angeles, when the rivalry between newspapers seeking readers, influence, revenue, and power broke out into gang skirmishes that matched the lurid and sensational brand of journalism popular then as we reimagined the Capulets and the Montagues as the Chandlers vs. the Hearsts.”  More

Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles Presents a Jazz Age Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet - Shakespeare Center of LA

The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles brings the most romantic tale ever told to the Amphitheatre at The Japanese Garden this summer for 17 performances, July 8 – 26. Director Kenn Sabberton (Shakespeare Center’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It) sets the production in 1920s LA where its young characters represent the hope and vitality of both the Jazz Age and the burgeoning metropolis of Los Angeles.

Box dinners by Café Brentwood are available for advance purchase with your tickets or you can bring a picnic for dining in the garden before the show. Doors open at 6:30 for picnicking and the show begins at 8pm. Tickets are $49 (Tier 1) $20 (Tier 2) $70 (Premium – includes box dinner). To purchase tickets, go to or call the box office at (213) 481-2273. Box office hours are 12 – 5pm.

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